The Dangers of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
All parents want the best for their children. Because of this, it can be easy to rely on bottles if they deliver much needed comfort and relaxation. Unfortunately, frequent or prolonged exposure to drinks containing sugar can make your child susceptible to tooth decay.
Keep reading to learn more about baby bottle tooth decay and steps you can take to prevent early childhood oral complications in your infant or toddler.
What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
The definition of babyis right in the name. It is a term commonly used to describe oral decay present in infants and toddlers. Cavities during this time affect a child’s primary, or baby, teeth and can have lasting consequences.
Most often, tooth decay of this nature is seen in the upper front teeth and can appear as white spots at the gum line. If found, you should take your child in for a dental exam. Our pediatric dentists will treat them carefully to stop the decay from spreading further.
Should I Be Worried About It?
Yes, tooth decay is something that you should be conscious of and take steps to curb. However, the mere possibility shouldn’t keep you up at night or make you fearful of feeding your child sugar.
If you want to, go on the offensive with an oral hygiene routine designed to help your child. Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing, and limiting sugar intake to a healthier amount are all recommended actions.
There are a variety of factors that play into tooth decay. If you’re not careful, cavity-causing bacteria can be passed from parent to infant through the shared use of a feeding utensil. A lack of fluoride can also translate to an increased risk of decay. It’s important to remember, however, that tooth decay is preventable.
Prevention Tips to Counter Decay
do not have to be a part of your child’s life. There are many ways that you as a parent can keep their teeth clean and free from decay. Young children do not yet understand the importance of good oral health. But you do and you can help them.
Protect your child from tooth decay by:
- Gently wiping their gums with a clean washcloth before teeth have erupted
- Brushing their teeth two times a day for two minutes. Use a smear of fluoride toothpaste until age 3 then advance to a pea-sized amount until age 6
- Not filling bottles with sugar water, juice, or soft drinks
- Not giving children bottles at bedtime or allowing them to fall asleep while feeding
- Providing clean pacifiers – not ones dipped in sugar or honey
- Encouraging your child to drink from cups by age 1 if possible
- Feeding them healthy, balanced meals and snacks
- Speak with our pediatric dentists about dental sealants for extra protection
Yes – Baby Teeth are Important
Just because baby teeth fall out and are replaced by adult teeth does not mean they should be neglected. Not caring for your child’s primary teeth can put them at risk for premature tooth loss, cavities, dental fillings, and unwanted infections.
Oral hygiene habits should be formed when your child is still very young. Our pediatric dentists recommend parents use a silicone finger slip brush as teeth start to erupt. After age 1, feel free to swap that out for a toothbrush with a small head.
We understand that it can be difficult to get babies or toddlers to cooperate when you’re encouraging daily brushing and flossing. It’s best to think out of the box. Incorporate fun into your child’s dental routine with games, music, and weekly rewards. When children associate excitement with oral hygiene, they’re bound to stick to good behavior.
Schedule a Cleaning
Starting your child on the path toward pearly whites early on in their life is key. Take the time to teach them the proper teeth brushing technique and have fun with oral hygiene. Our pediatric dentists in Grandville, MI, will gladly answer any questions you have and give your child a proper dental cleaning.